Technology is constantly evolving and being adapted to make things easier for us, to make tasks more efficient – and even automated in some cases. Technology is one industry that moves at an overwhelming speed. You can buy a computer today, and then next month new and improved components could come out making your computer no longer ‘state of the art’.
Technology for Consumers
As personal consumers, we tend to think of technology more in terms of social media, smartphones, tablets, computers and video games.
Every year we see fantastic new updates to the consumer technology market, things like the iPhone which get updated every year, computer components like memory, hard drives, processors, graphics cards and motherboards all see radical improvements year after year, even TV’s and the technologies we see in those are updated on a yearly basis; Blu-ray, 3D etc. technology is a huge part of our day-to-day lives, and it makes things a lot easier for us.
But technology plays a huge part in business too, without technology in business, the world as we know it would not exist! In-fact, business users probably account for a huge percentage of smartphone and tablet users…
Technology for Business
Technology helps businesses and organizations in a number of ways. It helps them to collaborate, it helps to manage time and productivity, it can help to manage products and inventory, and it can even automate or dramatically reduce the costs and time involved in certain tasks – like marketing, communication, collaboration, invoicing and so much more.
One of the oldest and most prominent uses for technology in business is for conferencing / meetings. Telephone conferencing and holding meets via telephone call (ISDN) instead of conventional methods save companies millions of dollars each year.
Despite how popular telephone conferencing is among business users (and personal users, Skype is a VoIP service which is very similar to telephone conferencing), it hasn’t changed a great deal over the years. The only big changes to this particular niche in the tech industry were when VoIP was introduced into the mix, and then of course when video conferencing came about.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is the abbreviation of Voice over Internet Protocol, and the term basically covers any technologies, protocols, methodologies or equipment used in voice and video communications over ‘Internet Protocol’ networks like the internet.
If you’ve ever made an audio call on your computer using software like Skype, then you’ve made a VoIP call before! VoIP took off properly in 1994 with the first ever VoIP application being released – MTALK for Linux.
What is Video Conferencing?
Video conferencing is the same as a standard telephone conference, only with the addition of video. As long as you have a webcam or network camera, a computer and internet connection, then you can hold a video conference online.
Video conferencing (also known as Telepresence) allows you to make your meetings and conferences more personal. If you were having a meeting with a client then a video conference would seem more welcoming than a telephone or text based conference, it’s as close as you can get to being ‘face-to-face’ without actually both being in the same room hence the term “Telepresence”.
Comparison: VoIP vs ISDN
- Overview: Uses software installed on your computer or mobile phone to place your call over the internet. It supports real-time, two-way transmission of conversations over Internet Protocol. It’s popular among business users as well as personal users, and can also include participants using a standard telephone.
- Required Equipment: You will need VoIP Software, a computer with internet access, computer audio system and microphone.
- Benefits: VoIP allows you to access calls anywhere there is an internet connection, it’s often much cheaper than teleconferencing, and often includes additional features and functionality like video conferencing or IM and file sharing features too.
Telephone Conferencing (ISDN)
- Overview: Requires a conferencing service provider and places calls through telecommunication networks using a landline phone.
- Required Equipment: You will need any standard telephone, a telecommunications service provider (you can also get special conference phones for meeting rooms if you need them).
- Benefits: Telephone conferencing delivers the same audio quality as a regular telephone call, it’s as easy as placing a regular phone call and it works without an internet connection. Often these services include recording and playback services, and they are not impacted by internet usage limitations. You can also get 800 number conference call services that allow people to call in to the conference at no charge.
As you can see, VoIP conferencing and telephone conferencing both allow you to do the same thing, and perform the same functions, but different requirements are needed for each. The decision on which one is best for you and your business depends on your current setup and capabilities.
One of the best benefits of VoIP conferencing and conference calls is the price, it’s much cheaper than conventional methods of holding meetings and relaying information via conference and there are rarely extra costs involved for utilising services like video streaming and file sharing in IP based conferences.
If you work in a business or organization that isn’t making use of conference call technologies at the moment, then it’s definitely something you should be looking in to because it can save your company time and money!
For your information we have also attached an infographic around the comparison of VoIP and ISDN based telephone conferencing. Enjoy!